The Last Wolf by: Maria Vale

If she returns to her Pack, the stranger will die.

But if she stays…

Silver Nilsdottir is at the bottom of her Pack’s social order, with little chance for a decent mate and a better life. Until the day a stranger stumbles into their territory, wounded and beaten, and Silver decides to risk everything on Tiberius Leveraux. But Tiberius isn’t all he seems, and in the fragile balance of the Pack and wild, he may tip the destiny of all wolves…

For three days out of thirty, when the moon is full and her law is iron, the Great North Pack must be wild.

Content Warnings: Genocide, cannibalism, murder, blood/gore, torture, non-con touching, ableist/ableism, attempted rape [off page], stillbirth, and child abuse.

Growing up Silver, short for Quicksilver, was made to feel less than by her pack, because she was born a runt and because every shift, to wolf form, causes one of her back legs to dislocate so she isn’t able to move around like the rest of her pack.

As the “Daeling” [the celebration of going from being a juvenile to adult where everyone in their age group is paired up to practice living like mates] night arrives Silver is filled with apprehension. Already sitting at the bottom of the pack there are only three things that could happen: she could be paired with the lowest ranking man in the pack [who reeks of kibble and Baileys], she could be exiled, or if unpartnered she will become a “nidling” which is a servant of the Alpha.

When her potential partner is exiled Silver is in shock, the last thing she wants is to be alone, which is what she’ll be since she’s now a nidling. So when Tiberius, a shifter [someone who’s change to wolf isn’t controlled by the moon and who have a long and dark history with the pack] lumbers in with a hole in his gut, and a gun, saying he’s half pack [his father is shifter but his mother was pack born] and requests acceptance into the pack, Silver has a decision to make.

Before Tiberius’ mother died she told his father that he, Tiberius, could petition for a place in the pack if there was an unmated woman in the pack, which Silver is. Silver, who dreads becoming a nidling, makes a bold decision when she chooses to stay by Tiberius’ side instead of returning home, with the pack. She chooses to link her fate, with his, in hopes that after a trial she’ll be able to return to her pack with Tiberius as her mate. Silver refuses to dwell on the fact that if they fail the trial she’ll lose her pack and everything she knows because they’ll both be exiled.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the lore the author wrote. We get to learn the history of the pack and see how far removed from humans they try to stay, to preserve their roots in the earth and nature. This story was definitely heavier on the contemporary fantasy with a good-sized romance subplot. There were times I found myself laughing like when Silver brings Tiberius a juicy bunny to eat [the pack only eats meat they’ve freshly killed themselves] and doesn’t understand why he won’t eat it. Tiberius is used to eating processed meat, which Silver and the rest of the pack consider carrion, and disgusting. Seeing these two similar souls who were raised in very different cultures try to learn and understand each other was hilarious, sometimes sad, and beautiful all at the same time.

I enjoyed getting to see Silver, who really is so close to nature, learn and interact with Tiberius who is used to the modern convenience of living closely with humans [ie heating and AC, hamburgers, jerk, etc]. Seeing them grow to learn, care for, respect, and trust each other was beautiful. There were a few things, here or there, that I think the story could have done without while at the same time I understood how they helped solidify the truth, and our understanding, of pack law.

If you’re looking for a story about two people, who’ve faced criticism their entire lives and always were made to feel other, finding a connection and understanding in each other, I highly recommend giving this book a try. Currently, there are four books out, all featuring a different couple, with a fifth book set to release August 2022.

Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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